However, people pay big bucks for that confection. And it's big business, too. It's not the ingredients you're really paying for. It's more for the artful decorations and the most important thing: the meaning.
Because it's the MEANING behind each particular bite that you're willing to shell out copious amounts of cash for. And I'm not just hopped up on the sweets over here. Cake is a big part of all the most cherished moments in our lives. Who knew a baked good was this important?
THE WEDDING CAKE
This cake gets it's own table! Grandma and grandpa may be squeezed into seats with some of the other relatives, but the wedding cake is center stage. The bride probably dragged the groom along to countless bakeries for cake-tasting and spent many nights agonizing over life-changing decisions like: if the red velvet cake will clash with the purple flowers. And let us not forget, one of the most photographed moments at the reception (besides the first dance) is the cake feed.
And can we all please start a new tradition from here on out? It's 2014 and I'm pretty sure forks have been around since the 4th century. That's a lots of years. Can we start using those instead of using our grubby fingers? Maybe it's just me being a germaphobe, but it's gross. And don't get me started on the smashing of cake into someone's perfectly make-up'd face. But that's another blog for another day.
THE BIRTHDAY CAKE
You certainly wouldn't celebrate another passing year without feasting on some birthday cake. Add in some candles and we've got ourselves a parrrrrrtayyyy! I don't know how you do things in your family. But in mine, the birthday girl doesn't always get to pick the cake. You may assume that if it's your birthday, you should get your favorite type of cake, right? That would make the most sense to me. If I were running the show around here, that's how I'd do it. But all my life, no matter who was celebrating in my family, we had white cake and white buttercream icing in our house.
Even for my birthday. And I hate that kind.
I'm not complaining. Not entirely. And it wouldn't really do any good if I did. I guess it was nice that my family made each birthday special, but they drew the line on just how special. It would have been nicer if just once out of my 30 years-worth of birthdays, we could have all chowed down on some chocolate.
Chocolate cake with whipped icing. It's been my dream. But I'm the only one in my family that's a chocoholic. I can hear my sister and mom now saying, "But everyone else likes white cake. Majority rules."
So each year....
...and buttercream icing....
Except that one time! They tried. I'll give them that. My dearly beloved all gathered here to celebrate my 20th birthday.
My family sang happy birthday, the candles were blown out, and the cutting of the cake began. But as the pieces were being passed around, the phone rang. It was a call for me, the birthday girl. So I chatted away in a quieter room. And when I returned to the party, that sweet little niece of mine had gobbled up our entire chocolate piece. The only chocolate piece. It must have been good, too, because there wasn't even a crumb left over for me. That figures. She had my cake and ate it, too.
THE RETIREMENT CAKE
Nothing says "Get the heck out of our cubicle space" like a goodbye cake. Everyone probably chipped in a few bucks to sink their teeth into this departing dessert. Even if they didn't, it's a good day in the office when someone announces that there's cake in the break room. Even if no one knows the honoree, they're still going to want in on the celebration.
THE GRADUATION CAKE
Moms and Dads have waited about 18 years to indulge in this sweet treat. They also can't wait to burn off some of those cake calories by shipping junior off to college and turning his bedroom into an office. Hopefully they got a bargain on that cake, because the tuition bills will be rolling in soon enough.
I think you're starting to get the picture. It's not JUST cake we're talking about.
And sometimes in life, things can be an easy piece of cake. Or you can be awesome and take the cake. Or let them eat cake!
But it's really never just eating. Because it's more than just something sweet. It's an experience, it's memories, it's tradition, and it's a special occasion.
And in six days, I'll be celebrating 31 years of cake. And just like tradition will call for:
....and buttercream icing....